Day 18 (Week 3, Day 4)
Back to normal today, after colds and visits to the capital halted our progress yesterday! I'd hoped to catch up with yesterday by reading them before work this morning to give us a double haul for today, but unfortunately it's never easy in the morning with school and work to prepare for!
Onward with this evening's books then...
1) Do Not Bring Your Dragon To The Library - Julie Gassman (Author) & Andy Elkerton (Illustrator)
Seriously, this has to be one of the most enticing titles of all time. Whether you work in a library or not, you've got to be squealing with delight when you come across something like this, right? And I'd have to agree, based upon the fact that the only animals we allow in my library service are guide dogs, that one shouldn't bring a dragon into the library.
Though, actually, one library does have a cat that frequents it and is a local hero and is awesome, so...
It's a delightfully illustrated story with a great imagination behind it, and it's perfect for getting children to laugh at the silly antics of the dragons and the general idea of letting one loose in a library. Perhaps one day the rules will relax, though maybe it would be better to start with smaller animals first...
Josh says: I liked the green dragon best.
Xander says: I read it now! (opens book) Big fire! One day, rather important...why...he rubbed his tail...one dragon...dead! ROARRRRRR! (N.B. This is possibly the greatest re-telling of a story I've ever heard, particularly as it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the actual plot, barring the presence of a dragon!)
2) Elmer, Rose and Super El - Dave McKee (Author & Illustrator)
I don't think anyone needs any introduction to Elmer, the patchwork elephant and an absolute icon of children's fiction. The first Elmer book originally came out in 1968 (with many more since it was republished by Anderson Press in 1989), and I'm not sure there are any children who haven't adored Elmer at some point! This is a lovely Elmer tale about a herd of pink elephants celebrating the 100th birthday of Old elephant, when disaster strikes, leading to Super El (Elmer's friend) saving the day. It's got the perfect mix of mild peril and happy resolution, with the iconic bright Elmer images throughout to make parents and children alike smile. You're never going to go wrong with an Elmer book!
Chris says: Some series endure for years and become iconic for obvious reasons, and the Elmer books are certainly iconic! Elmer must be one of the most recognisable characters in children's fiction, and it's always fantastic to see your children notice a character that they adore when they're browsing the library shelves and get exciting about reading a new story (or even one they've read before but enjoyed a lot!).
Josh says: I liked the herd of pink elephants.
Xander says: I like elephants.
This is the second Jack and the Beanstalk retelling that we've read in two days (non-reading days notwithstanding!) and the second that we've thoroughly enjoyed for being nice and different in their retelling! Instead of magic beans, it's magic jelly beans this time, creating a much tastier type of beanstalk for Jack to climb! It's wonderfully bright and colourful (from The Wonderful World of Tom Gates' Liz Pichon creative illustrations!) and a perfect example of how you can take an old story and make it fresh and exciting. I'm sure that most children would get quite excited by the scene in the sweet shop towards the beginning of the story (I know mine did), and the thought of all those sweets coming down with the bean stalk is the sort of image that used to get me excited to revisit when I was younger. Lovely way to end the evening!
Chris says: There are some topics guaranteed to get kids excited to read about, and sweets is one of them! Combine it with a great retelling of a classic story, and it's easy to see why Josh and Xander enjoyed this one.
Josh says: I liked the 'smelly old sock' flavoured beans.
Xander says: (when asked 'what did you enjoy most?) Ooh, I don't know, thank you. (N.B. To be fair, this is more polite and committed than some of his answers in the Picture Book Challenge so far!)
So, to summarise Day 18...
Even when Josh is incredibly tired after a long day and it looks like the grumpuss is about to take over his body, settling down with our stories just before bed never fails to make us all smile and laugh together, and it's definitely one of the highlights of my day. Xander will always come and join us (even if his attention span isn't quite as good as Josh's!), and seeing him desperate to read a book out loud himself as soon as we've finished is a great sign that he gets loads out of our reading time too, and his retelling of Do Not Bring Your Dragon To The Library tonight was by far the most entertaining so far.
Looking forward to tomorrow evening already!